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Severe anorexia nervosa: Outcomes from a medical stabilization unit

Authors

  • Jennifer L. Gaudiani MD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
    2. Hospitalist, Denver Health, Denver, Colorado
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  • Allison Lee Sabel MD, PhD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
    2. Department of Patient Safety and Quality, Denver Health, Denver, Colorado
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  • Margherita Mascolo MD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
    2. Hospitalist, Denver Health, Denver, Colorado
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  • Philip S. Mehler MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Glassman Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, Denver Health, Denver, Colorado
    • 777 Bannock St, MC 0278, Denver, CO 80204
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Abstract

Objective:

We report data from the medical stabilization and refeeding of patients with severe anorexia nervosa admitted over a 15-month period.

Method:

Through chart review and computerized data collection, we evaluated demographic and clinical data from 25 consecutive patients admitted to our medical stabilization unit from October 2008 to January 2010.

Results:

In this adult-patient population with a median body mass index (BMI) of 13.1 kg/m2 (interquartile range, 11.0–14.4), 44% developed hypoglycemia, 76% had abnormal liver function, 83% had abnormal bone density, 45% developed refeeding hypophosphatemia, and 92% were hypothermic. Severe liver function abnormality predicted the development of hypoglycemia (p = 0.02, OR 9.78, CI: 1.55–61.65). No clinical features predicted hypophosphatemia, including admission BMI (p = 0.19), serum glucose level (p = 0.21), elevated liver function tests (p = 0.39 for AST), or initial amount of kilocalories consumed (p = 0.06).

Discussion:

Patients with the most severe cases of anorexia nervosa have a high prevalence of serious medical complications during initial refeeding. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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